Bharti Airtel has been one of the late entrants in the direct-to-home (DTH) industry. In just eight months after its nationwide launch, the company has crossed the one-million mark, as per some reports. In an interview, Ajai Puri, director and CEO, Bharti Telemedia, who worked with Bharti’s telecom business for four and half years, said the DTH industry has a potential to revolutionise the Indian market just like the telecom industry did.
Your outlook for the industry
If the government encourages the DTH market the way it encouraged the telecom business, the potential is going to be huge. In three years, the market can grow up to a size of 50 million subscribers.
You have a lot of competition. How are you performing?
It’s been only eight months since we went national, but we are acquiring every fourth new customer in the market.
Can you share the numbers?
I cannot share the numbers, but we estimate that the industry is adding between eight to ten lakh subscribers every month.
What are the challenges?
There are far too many taxes. Entertainment tax is levied in as many as nine to ten states. We are taxed by the central as well as the state governments. Moreover, the recent decision to levy import duty on the set top boxes has only burdened us with huge taxes that may decelerate the industry’s growth.
How long do you think it will take before you break even?
I can’t comment on this. The DTH business is one with a long gestation period, world over. Somewhere it takes three years to break even, somewhere five years..
Do you have plans to introduce the personal video recorder?
Yes. It may be a possibility this calendar year.